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    • I used to think of thorium as a possible fuel of the future but I thought we were a very long way away from that eventuality. Maybe we aren't so far away as I thought.

      This short video explains where current research is at:

    • When I was an undergrad, I wanted to major in nuclear energy because I thought it was the fuel of the future. So it was interesting to watch this film come out this year, which is basically all about young, idealistic engineers seeing it as the future:

      There are some promising startups like the Bill Gates-funded TerraPower.

    • What do you currently think? In my mind the speed of climate change is the issue. While say fusion energy or thorium energy seem like long term solutions to our energy needs, they just aren't mature enough technologies to save us from our current plight. Your thoughts?

    • My sense is that it comes down to cost. The Europeans are grappling with costs because their old plants have to be decommissioned at great cost, while renewables like wind and solar have become very competitive. And then there's liability and public perception.

      So some European countries like Belgium have announced that after all these decades of supporting nuclear, they will no longer. Here's a pretty good rundown of why:

    • The following is opinion and opinion is not worth much. Especially since there are many whose opinions are the opposite of my opinions. 😎

      I doubt that we can stop climate change. We might be able to quit exacerbating the situation by reducing the human contribution, but I think climate change will happen regardless of human contribution. There are also possible natural events which can catastrophically increase the rate of climate change.

      Sure, it is possible that technology may be able to produce some mitigating products but I don't think that we will be able to do more than reduce the rate of change.

    • You could be right, I don't know. There are so many confounding factors like will a significant portion of the population stop consuming so much meat, will we continue to cut down rainforests, etc.

      As a former environmental scientist in water testing, I tend to see the the risks of industrialization in terms of cancer, lead & mercury poisoning, etc. I don't know why the world's attention hasn't turned to that, maybe because it doesn't carry such a fear of violent calamity?

      When a water problem does come to the fore, there's outrage against the EPA coupled with cutting regulations but no real knowledge of what we citizens are doing to cause the poisoned water that gives our children cancer.

    • Unfortunately I agree with Skewmaker, not enough is being done quick enough to slow down the rate of damage, let alone reverse damage done. With emerging countries like India and China producing huge amounts of pollution and the US withdrawing from climate agreements in favour of corporate profits the future doesn't look good.

      In regards to Nuclear, how long can we continue to safely stockpile nuclear waste products without a major evironmental disaster occuring?

    • So you're a denier. Climate change has and can occur via natural processes but there is little doubt that the current situation is greatly exacerbated by human activity and if we hope to maintain a stable climate then we had better take climate change amelioration seriously. Denying that humans have anything to do with it or simply saying it's too hard to do anything about it is to say it'll be hard so why bother. It's also denying the scientific consensus that is real.

    • Contained in a magnetic field. It's a very tiny and concentrated spot that reaches those temperatures. Lots of powerful lasers pointing at a single spot can make things hot. Fear not Chris.

    • I disagree. While we may not be doing enough now, there's certainly the ability to control or reduce the affects of climate change. We don't yet have the political will however and with so many scientifically illiterates like Trump around...well it'll take some time. Don't give up just yet. The world got together and addressed the ozone problem and we can do it again with climate change. Shrugging our shoulders and standing by while it happens and pretending we can't do anything is just not acceptable.

    • You did not read my comment carefully. If you had you would have seen that I made reference to humans exacerbating the situation. I simply think that Climate change is going to happen even if we were to figure out how to reduce our contribution to zero.

    • I had caught the part about exacerbating the situation but I got the sense that you thought we shouldn't really try to do anything about it. I apologize if I mistook your comment but I'm sure you can explain it further. It also seems you think that without humans on the planet right now the earth would still be going through global warming. My feeling is that our current trajectory is far from adequate to fix the problem or even minimize the damage. I do however feel we have the knowledge, understanding and technical ability to more than take care of things if we had the worldwide political will. I think it can be done and done in a way that does not prevent us from growing the economy at the same time. Will we do it? Will we do it in time? Hard to say but anything is certainly possible. We just need to get over our current focus on saving fossil fuel jobs and get focused on transitioning our economies towards renewables. Paris Accord is at least a recognition by world governments that there is a real problem that needs to be addressed. As you well know the Paris Accord is merely a letter of intention and not legally binding. The good news here is that although countries may have faultered on their commitments, they still have done things to work towards the problem and have at least recognized the problem. Science ignoramuses like Trump don't help the situation, nor do those who have vested interests in the fossil fuel interests but the winds are shifting and I feel optimistic going forward.

      As the problem gets worse - such as California wildfires, tropical storms, drought and so on, we will start to realize sitting around is going to cost us more than doing something about it. Everyone seems to blame China as well but I see them doing a lot of things towards improving things worldwide. Sometimes things get worse before they get better but in this case we are capable of it. Keep spreading the word and fighting the good fight.

    You've been invited!